London, April 2022: Thursday the 14th

Thursday turned out to be a very sunny and warm day in London, and I decided to have breakfast at O’Neill’s King’s Cross. The main reason for heading here, was because it was close to the hotel. Though the pub claims to be “The original Irish Bar in Kings Cross”, it came across as an American Irish pub rather than a proper Irish one to me. The only vegan option on the menu was the Plant Life Breakfast (toasted muffin with vegan sausages, spinach hash, guacamole, flat mushroom, Heinz® baked beans and cherry tomatoes), so that’s what I went for, along with some sparkling soda water on tap (basically free fizzy water). They didn’t have any plant milks, so for me tea or coffee were out of the question (I’ll drink my coffee black at a place with good coffee, but not at a place like this).

When the breakfast arrived, I was a bit disappointed, but not really surprised. The spinach was dry, the mushrooms were dry, the bap wasn’t great, and the whole thing was rather sad. Fortunately, it did its job, and filled me up, so that I was ready to meet the day. I would not recommend this as a breakfast place, though, there are far better places to eat, and thinking back, I kind of wish I’d gone to a supermarket and just bought a sandwich and a bottle of sparkling water there.

A plate with vegan sausages, half of a bap with mushed avocado, half a bap with cherry tomatoes, hash browns, spinach, baked beans, and mushrooms. A glass with fizzy water behind it, and an e-reader with an open page to the right.
Plant Life Breakfast @ O’Neill’s
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After breakfast, I decided to go back to the hotel. On my way I stopped by one of the many food stalls outside King’s Cross station: Crosstown. Crosstown makes handcrafted fresh doughnuts, and you can get vegan doughnuts from them all over London. I bought the Vegan Coconut & Lime doughnut, and it was really really nice! I brought the doughnut back to my hotel room, and enjoyed it there, in peace and quiet.

A food stall with wooden food displays with glass doors. On the front "Crosstown" is written.
Crosstown London, at King’s Cross station
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Relaxing in my room with a nice tread did wonders, and I decided to take the tube to Tower Hill. This meant that I arrived at the Tower of London, where I started my walk. I then walked along the River Thames, and passed a few bridges, Tower Bridge being one of them. When I first visited London in 1988 (the year I turned 14), I remember staying at a hotel where we could see Tower Bridge from our hotel room.

As it was a very sunny day, I wasn’t the only one out for a walk. Not only were there lots of people walking along the river, but the benches along the foot path were filled with people relaxing and smiling. Every time you passed by a pub or an outdoor restaurant, they were filled with people. I’m certain the lovely weather and the fact that the next day was a bank holiday were the reasons everywhere were filled with happy people.

A caste of bricks with towers.
Tower of London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A caste of bricks, with towers.
Towers of London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A river with a large bridge with towers on each side.
Tower Bridge
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

There was one thing I wanted to do before going to the bookcrossing meetup I was going to attend at 4 pm: I wanted to visit Daunt Books. I have visited Daunt Books previously, but it’s always worth a visit if you love books and have the time. I think it’s one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world! I didn’t buy anything, but just being there, browsing the shelves, was nice. They have a really good non-fiction selection, for being such a small bookshop. Because it really isn’t all that big, once you get into it.

A bookshop entrance, with "Daunt Books" on the sign over the door.
Daunt Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A room with walls covered with books. At the end of the room is a window with painted glass art. Flowerlike green lamps are hanging from the ceiling. There are also tables filled with books in the room.
Daunt Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

On my way to Allsop Arms, where I was supposed to meet up with the bookcrossers, I pretty much stumbled over a small coffee shop called Hagen. Hagen is a Danish espresso bar concept born out of Copenhagen and founded in London. They serve specialty coffee, and to my delight their pour over was absolutely top notch! As far as I can tell from their homepage, they have five branches across London. A perfect place for a break, if you have the time and need a nice cup of coffee.

A marble counter with a carafe and a glass of coffee. To the left behind the counter you can see coffee grinders, espresso machines, and other coffee making equipment. You can also see two baristas working.
At Hagen Espresso Bar
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Ha hand holding a carafe of coffee, pouring it into a glass.
Coffee at Hagen Espresso Bar
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

At the bookcrossing meetup, we ended up being a total of three people. I think it probably was because a lot of people left the city due to Easter. It ended up being a really nice meetup, though, and it was lovely to see people I hadn’t seen in real life in a few years. I think last time I met Poodlesister was at the convention in Oxford in 2015.

It was pretty much dinner time for me, so I had pie and chips, and I also had a couple of ciders in the pub. One of the ciders I’d had before, the other one not. It’s always fun to try new beers and ciders, especially if I’m in the UK. Though I do with the IPA trend would soon be over!

A table with books spread across it. On the table there's also a glass of red cider.
Bookcrossing meetup at Allsop Arms
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After the meetup I went back to the hotel, where I had a lovely bath. Having a bath tub in the hotel room always feels like luxury, and I try to use it if I can. It was so nice and relaxing, having a bath and reading. I decided to stay in the hotel room for the rest of the evening, and was honestly pretty exhausted. It was nice to creep under the duvet after a long, but nice, day.

BookCrossing Convention: Oxford 2015

It has been a while since I attended the bookcrossing convention in Oxford. Having arrived on Wednesday, and the convention starting friday afternoon, I had time to go down to the city centre of Oxford before the convention actually started, to have a look around, as well as having lunch at the Eagle and Child.

The Eagle and Child was the pub the Inklings used to meet up, so of course I had to make a stop here. Though the ale was excellent, I didn’t care much for the sandwhich. It had some sort of raising like chutney and cheese, and I really didn’t like the chutney…

The Eagle and Child, Oxford
The Eagle and Child, Oxford
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

The convention took place Friday 10 – 12 April, and St Hilda’s College was the venue. This was also where several of us were staying, and even though the accomondation was pretty spartan, it was cheap and worked fine. If there was one thing I wasn’t too happy about, it was the Internet access – having two devices needing Internet, the system used didn’t handle this at all, which was quite frustrating.

The convention’s registration opened at 16:30 on Friday 10 April, and after receiving the goodiebag and out name tag, there was plenty of time before we headed to the buffet meal, which was pretty much afternoon tea. Very English! Being a vegetarian, the fruits were my favourites…

After having stuffed ourselves with food, we headed to the Jacquline Du Pre music building, where MissMarkey welcomed us all to the convention: It was now officially open!

At the convention there was a huge book buffet. I added some books myself, and had planned on not bringing many books home. Now, that didn’t ho as planned. I found out I was able to bring an extra suitcase on my flight home, without extra costs, so I ended up buying an extra suitcase, so that I could bring more books home. As if I needed more books…

People browsing the book buffet
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

Friday night I went out with a group of Scandinavians. We have our own forum group over at the bookcrossing website, and most of us have been active there for years. It was good to chat with the people I’ve “known” online for years!

I had a rather slow morning on Saturday, and headed down to the city centre again. This was when I bought the extra suitcase, as well as having tea and reading my book. I even stopped by the library. It would have felt wrong to visit Oxford and not stopping buy the city library.

After lunch one of the (for me) convention’s high lights took plave: Morris Men were dancing on the lawn at St Hilda’s. It was so much fun! The audience even got to participate at the end, and I was among the lucky ones who got to dance along. I loved it, and was sad to see it end so quickly…

The merry Morris Men at the lawn
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

After sitting (and dancing) in the sun, we headed inside to listen to Ann Granger speak. I must admit I haven’t read any of her books, but it was quite nice to listen to anyhow. And when she was done, they drew the raffle prizes, and then the next year’s Athen’s Convention was presented. The last scheduled event before we all headed out for a meal (I had Indian – yum) was the bid for the 2017 convention, and Oslo won! I’m very excited about a bookcrossing convention in my own country!

Even though Sunday was the last convention day, I left the college when we had to check out, and headed off. I had had a lovely time, but was tired after being social for such a long time (EasterCon + BC con = 10 days of socialising!)

See you all in Oslo in 2017!

Pre Bookcrossing Convention: The Cotswold Coach Tour

For the ones of us who arrived early to the bookcrossing convention in Oxford this year, they had arranged a Cotswold Coach Tour. The tour was simply wonderful, and the organizer MissMarkey had done an excellent job putting it together. Often on coach tours there’s not enough time to really look around at the stops, but this time we had plenty of time each stop, and we didn’t even have to stress when we had our lunch stop.

We set out from St Hilda’s college in Oxford in the morning, and after managing to get everyone on the coach, we headed for our first stop, Burford. Burford was a lovely small and cute town. I stopped by the library first, which was really small, but considering the size it was really good. I even had a chat with the librarian, and got some information on the building, fundings and such. There was also a fun book/hat shop in Burford. It’s the only combined hat and book shop I’ve been in, and it was called The Madhatter Bookshop.

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

The Madhatter Bookshop
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

Burford Church
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

Our next stop was the small village Little Rissington, where you can find one of England’s telephone box libraries. Here you could pick up a book, or leave one. I neither brought any book or took any.

The phone box library in Little Rissington
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

When we got to Bourton-on-the-Water, it was lunch time. I decided on doing this town on my own, and fist I did a bit of walking around. I found a nice pub called Kingsbridge, where I had a veggie burger. After lunch there was still time to walk around, before heading back to the coach.

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

At Snowshill Manor and Garden we got to see the collection of Charles Wade. He had bought a house for all the odd bits he collected through his life. While his collection had its own house, he himself lived in a small cottage. The gardens were quite large too, and since it was such a beautiful sunny day, it was a nice stop, and I ended it with coffee and cake at the tea room.

Snowshill Manor
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

Sheep in the gardens of Snowshill Manor
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

Our very last stop of the tour before heading back to Oxford was The Rollright Stones. The stones are megalithic monuments from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. There were several bookcrossing books released, but yet again, I didn’t release any.

The King Stone
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

The King’s Men
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015

We got back to Oxford just before 20, and it had been a great tour!

Gothenburg, I miss you!

Friday 19 to Sunday 21 April 2013 I spent the week end attending the annual bookcrossing convention, which this year took place in Gothenburg. This was my very first bookcrossing convention, and I must admit that I felt quite clueless, as I had no idea what usually happened at bookcrossing conventions. It was no surprise that they are a bit different from the science fiction or gaming conventions I’ve been to before, but that is to be expected.

I arrived in Gothenburg, and after checking in at the hotel, I headed to the venue at Norges hus. I got my name tags at the registration, and greeted some familiar, and some unfamiliar, faces.

After hanging around for a while, there was an informal opening of the convention, and there was a bingo going on. I didn’t bother to run around crossing out questions, but was more than happy to give my name to the ones looking for a librarian, a Norwegian, or just someone who’d read Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking.

There was also a quiz, that my team didn’t win, and in general a lot of fun and chatting.

We were also served some yummy food (with a vegetarian option), and we even got to learn some Swedish folk dance. Some of the dances were familiar, as we have the same ones in Norway (with different names). It was a lot of fun!

Friday was also the day where I learnt that it was usual to have a gift table on bookcrossing conventions. I had neither expected, nor brought, any gifts, simply because I had no idea there would be one. If I am to put my finger on something that might have been a minus to my experience, it is that I wish some of these things would have been explained on beforehand. I did actually look for information on the bookcrossing forum before the con… Needless to say, I was very surprised to see a couple of books for me on the gift table. Both of the books were from my wishlist on bookcrossing, and one of them was a book I recently got from another bookcrosser by mail (I just had forgotten to remove it from my list). This book did not come with me home, but I released it at the Gardermoen airport on my way home.

To start the day with having breakfast with other bookcrossers was delightful! It was nice to chat and eat and have a soft start of the day, before heading back to the venue. I managed to catch the interesting talk about translating books in the morning, before I ran off to meet up with an old friend of mine, to have lunch with him and his wife and daughter.

Saturday was also the day for the release walk, where we wandered the streets of Gothenburg and left books all around. The people of the city would be able to find books in many funny places, I guess, like hanging from trees as well at on the statues and benches.

We also had a flash mob in Bältesspännarparken, starting with elis-fromSweden walking to a spot, picking up a book and read. Then most of the other bookcrossers went up to stand beside her, one by one, and formed a line, ending with beson. elis-fromSweden then went up to one of the strangers staning by, watching, and handed her a book, before walking away. The flash mob is included in the video below.

After the flash mob, people spread to all directions, mostly in groups, and went for a treasure hunt and lunch. We ended the day by going to different restaurants in town. I had signed up with the group to go to Masala, a really nice Indian place not far from the Poseidon. The food there was really yummy!

At the last day of the convention, it was time to hear the bid for the convention in 2015. Only Oxford placed a bit, and we all cheered wen it went through. There was also a presentation of next year’s convention in Australia, by discoverylover and Skyring.

The convention ended with the raffle, which is a sort of lottery. I had put almost all my tickets into the Harry Potter prize, and didn’t win. Oh well, I wouldn’t have had room for it anyway. 😉

Then it was time to say good bye, and “see you in Oxford 2015!”